Location – Ko Lanta and Phuket
Highlight – Business Class flight to Melbourne
After all the excitement of Sinulog festival and the rest of our month in the Philippines, we opted for a rest week split between the Thai islands of Ko Lanta and Phuket.
Half of that plan worked – Ko Lanta was such a peaceful island with a huge sandy beach which runs up the length of it, meaning that wherever you are, it’s never busy. There were times that we were the only people on the beach as far as we could see. It’s an island that is geared for tourism, yet doesn’t seem at all ‘touristy’ – there’s nobody hassling you to buy sunglasses or come to their bar this evening, there were lots of really good, cheap food options available and everyone we met was super friendly.
We befriended a lovely group of four British girls at a pub quiz, (in which we came second for the third time running) and headed to the beach afterwards for some Rhum and coke (Rhum spelt with an ‘h’, so you know it’s not the expensive stuff… A one litre bottle set us back £1.70 in the Philippines, so we stocked up in readiness for expensive drink prices in Australia/New Zealand/Japan) and played our favourite drinking games for getting to know people. It was such fun that we hadn’t realised it was 5am by the time we called it a night, and we arranged to meet the group again the next night.
We didn’t do a whole lot while in Ko Lanta other than recharge our batteries, and as a result I only have one, lousy photo to share:
Sorry for such a photo light blog post, loyal readers! I will endeavor to not let this happen again! Here’s a bonus, irrelevant photo of a llama I took in Chiang Mai to go a little way towards making up for it:
Once we were back to feeling fresh and revitalised, we headed to Phuket.
First impressions weren’t great, as our taxi driver tried to drop us off at a different hotel from the name that we wrote on a piece of paper for him then he was annoyed with us but eventually after an extra 45 minutes of ‘bonus’ sight-seeing in his taxi we were dropped at our hotel at 7pm. “Time to head to the local 7/11 and grab some beers”, said we. So we did, via a lovely roadside restaurant, serving up our favourite dishes for under £1.50 each – in which situation the obvious thing to do would be to have two meals each. So we did that too.
After a 20 minute walk to the centre, we arrived on a street which was alive with neon lights and debauchery. There were so many bars and clubs that we didn’t go to any of them, and headed straight to the beach for some star gazing and philosophising. Are we over the bar scene now? Is there more to life than going to bars and clubs, getting drunk and hangovers?
No, and no.
So the next night, and our final night in the Asian leg of our trip (I don’t count Japan, which I’m expecting will be a whole different planet to itself) we hit up the Phuket scene and *content removed by WordPress Moderator* until the early hours of the morning.
We said our farewells to Asia in style with business class tickets from Phuket to Kuala Lumpur and then on to Melbourne to look forward to. Bring on the lounge access and proper legroom!
We arrived at Phuket airport with empty stomachs ready to fill up on whatever the lounge had available, but then, to our horror – the gates weren’t open for another HOUR. We had two options now open to us:
- Option 1. Go up to one of the many airport restaurants and cafes and get some brekkie to soak up the hangover with some carbs.
- Option 2. Sit in departures for an hour trying to think about anything other than being hungry and wait until we’re in the lounge and gauge ourselves silly.
Being the thrifty gents that we are, clearly it had to be Option 2. Fortunately our personal business class assistant rushed us through security and showed us to the lounge – where there was a mountain of egg fried rice and chili cashew nut chicken. Score!
Next up was the first flight – only one hour, but that was enough time to squeeze in a curry. By now we were really needing the extra width of the business class seats, let alone leg room.
We had 2 hour to spend in Kuala Lumpur’s Malaysia Airlines gold lounge but we were not really in the mood to make the most of the various food options, though they weren’t especially appealing: lukewarm laksa and some noodle options.
Onto the main event now – the long one from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne. So smooth, so easy, laid down sleeping, a nice selection of wines and an unnecessary steak for our overnight flight. I could get used to living the high high life. It was a nice change to the way I’m used to travelling, and it was quite a juxtaposition to check into a terrible hostel in Melbourne after we landed. Back to the real world (of the travelling world (which isn’t the real world (but it does feel like the real world now that we’ve been doing it for over 3 months (right, less talk of the REAL real world))))